Writing in the New York Times Motherlode blog, Meera Oliva says she was devastated when she learned prenatally that the child she was carrying had a cleft lip, but her concerns disappeared as soon as her son, Elan, was born. Now that Elan is six months old and about to undergo his third surgery, Oliva says she and her husband feel their journey “has enriched our lives much more than it has taken anything away.” An excerpt:
… From the moment we saw Elan, we were absolutely in love with him, and with his cleft in particular, and suddenly all of the things to come like surgeries and arm restraints and special feeding bottles seemed much more manageable.
… I think the most shocking thing of all to both of us is how bittersweet it feels to have Elan’s lip fixed. To us, his face doesn’t need any fixing. His smile is so sweet and part of what makes it so cute is its imperfection. His cleft feels like a part of who he is, and yet if Dr. Mulliken does his job right, Elan will grow up and never feel like his cleft defines him, and I guess that’s the way it should be.
But its hard to imagine that now. Because for now we feel a little sad to be saying goodbye to this wide smile that we have loved so much these last six months. So we will make sure to enjoy it as much as we can the next few days, and then we’ll get to work on loving his new smile just as much. I’m guessing that won’t be too hard.